Monday, June 20, 2016

Oh No! I Appear To Have Missed Autistic Pride Day: Why Every Day Should Be About Autism Acceptance

So it seems that I'm a bad Neurodiversity activist, at least momentarily. This past Saturday, my friends and I had a great camp, barbecue and swimming weekend a little bit out of North Bay, Ontario on beautiful Lake Nippissing. In my haste to pack the car, buy sunscreen, help with the food prep and drive the two hours there and back one important fact completely slipped my mind:
Saturday was Autistic Pride Day. 

Indeed, when I checked my social media accounts and saw them flooded with a slew of Autistic Pride posts, my heart sank a little. After all, what kind of Neurodiversity activist and cause fighter am I if I completely forget to post something special to Differently Wired on this of all days? I hastily re-shared a blog post by fellow Autistic blogger Alyssa Hubert and wrote a quick "Yay! Pride!" message between hamburgers and beers and called it a day. Duty done...even if it was a rather half-assed contribution.

Except it really wasn't duty done...not fully. If anything, this whole experience has gotten me thinking; should we keep this important sentiment limited to one day? When I say this, I feel like anyone who has ever said that "every day should be Christmas," because we should be kind to people all year round, but I really do feel its a shared sentiment. I'll never say that it isn't important for oppressed minorities to have a day of defiant pride and celebration - indeed, this is essential for any group in the fight for equality. All I'm saying is,  we really shouldn't only take one day in June to celebrate our pride as people on the Spectrum in being who we are. I know many of us also choose to defiantly mark April as Autism ACCEPTANCE Month or Neurodiversity Month, but even still this isn't enough. It's fantastic that we do, but we should be pushing for our voices to be heard every day of our lives. After all, the mainstream media doesn't take a holiday, and we need to be out there educating others and reaffirming our right to be different and exist in this world. Because being on the Autism spectrum doesn't make us broken; it makes us unique and equally deserving of dignity, respect and acceptance.

So this is my affirmation to all of you that I'll never stop fighting or wait for only one day or one month in order to campaign for the recognition of dignity and respect for every human on this planet who is differently wired. After all, if the average human lifespan is roughly 80 years, then every one of us has the right to be accepted, respected and loved every day of those eight or more decades. Anything other than that is just totally wrong.

As always yours in diversity, 

Adam Michael

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